Coronavirus

D.C. Mayor Violates Own COVID Travel Restrictions to Attend Biden Party

Bowser declares trip ‘essential,’ won’t quarantine

Mayor Muriel Bowser and Symone Sanders / Facebook

Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser (D.) is not quarantining after attending Joe Biden’s victory speech in Wilmington, Del., saying it was "essential travel."

The mayor, who has implemented some of the most restrictive coronavirus rules in the country, issued new travel rules on Monday but also said she won't be quarantining after traveling to celebrate Biden's win, Fox 5 D.C. reports. With Delaware on Bowser's list of 45 "high-risk" states, Washingtonians are required to quarantine for 14 days upon returning from Delaware on "nonessential" travel, yet she exempted herself because she met with Biden campaign officials in her "official capacity" as mayor.

Bowser is also exempt from mandatory testing, and it is not clear when she and the staff on the trip will be tested, though her office said she is tested regularly. Still, she urged D.C. residents to closely follow all guidelines in her "Coronavirus Situational Update" news conference Monday.

The stringent rules in D.C. have been the subject of controversy and lawsuits, as Black Lives Matter demonstrators have regularly violated social-distancing guidelines, while churches were banned from assembling outdoors until a federal court ruled that was a substantial burden to religion. Local reporters have taken note of Bowser's trip to Delaware in light of the rules she has imposed on the city.

"Dc @MayorBowser & staff attended @JoeBiden victory speech in Wilmington, DE Saturday," said NBC 4 Washington reporter Mark Segraves. "Delaware on the Mayor’s list of ‘High Risk' states which would require quarantine after returning. Bowser staff says the trip was ‘essential travel' exempted under Mayor’s order."

For essential travel, D.C.'s rules have the less-stringent requirement that those returning to the city "limit daily activities and self-monitor," but Bowser's office did not directly answer what she and her staff are doing to follow that advisory. When asked, Bowser's communications director Latoya Foster told the Washington Free Beacon, "On Saturday, Mayor Bowser attended the remarks of the President-elect and the Vice President-elect and met with a few people on their team. She went on Saturday evening and returned the same evening for this essential travel."